Michail Antonio has said that English football’s racism problem will be eradicated only if clubs are hit with points deductions when supporters abuse players.
Football is under fire again after Chelsea’s match at Tottenham on Sunday was paused when Antonio Rüdiger was targeted with racial abuse from the stands. Spurs are yet to identify who abused the Chelsea defender and it has since emerged that a Chelsea supporter was arrested after aiming alleged racist abuse at the Spurs forward Son Heung-min.
These are the latest in a long line of incidents and Antonio, who was speaking at a Football Beyond Borders event, believes harsher punishments are needed to force change.
“I feel the FA, the PFA and all the governing bodies need to deal with it harder,” the West Ham striker told the Guardian. “Punishing the person themselves is never going to deal with things. The only way for this to stop is for the team to be punished.
“Then the people start to deal with it themselves. It’s at the stage where if you deduct points – [not] fines because clubs will pay fines, it’s not a problem, they’re making billions – then the fans standing next to the [perpetrating] fan are going to stop them from doing it. Now it’s affecting them. But them doing their monkey chants and them being racist now, it’s only affecting the person themselves. When it starts affecting the club everybody’s not going to do it.”
He went on: “Racism doesn’t affect me. I’ve realised now that racism is down to the person doing it. It doesn’t affect my life. You calling me anything doesn’t affect my life. I’m still going to go home and give my Mrs a kiss, give my kids a cuddle. You come to me and punch me in my face I’m going to protect myself. Other than that it’s nothing. I’ve had people shout in my face trying to irritate me. I go: ‘I’m not here to fight, I’m here to love.’”